Elaborate tourism marketing, costly investments in infrastructure and product development all will remain unsuccessful if they offer something that does not raise any interest with potential guests. Ultimately, this will most likely show through a decrease in demand.
However, the inference from the quantitative development of demand to the offered products is not without fault. If, for example, an alternative product is not available, guests might choose the lesser evil. However, to orientate oneself towards such ‘benchmarks’ would mean to continue with old mistakes and to ‘miss’ the customer. Instead, it is much more effective to ask guests directly.
To find out what guests really want and to use this knowledge for the development of tourism is one of the main objectives of the NIT. Tourism-orientated guest surveys provide essential data in this respect. The range of methods that we apply for qualitative as well as quantitative research includes personal interviews, surveys of day trippers, destination-based focus groups as well as questionnaire-based surveys of domestic and international overnight guests in their accommodation at the destination or after they have returned home.
Standardised surveys conducted over several years allow for comparisons in time and place and are available at a relatively low cost. Furthermore, guest surveys also help clarifying what customers do not want and what they are annoyed by. Guest surveys also lead to a better understanding of customers’ holiday motives and expectations. They help to view one’s own product from the guest perspective and to put oneself in their position.
At the same time, it is becoming more and more important to develop target group orientated products or to stress the target group specific qualities of a product for a certain clientele. Different customer requirement profiles can be established on the basis of detailed customer knowledge. In turn, destinations and suppliers can optimise their product for a certain target group and thus position themselves among the competition.